Seafood fraud, long a problem (I wrote about it in What to Eat), is still a problem. The latest evidence comes from a report from the New York State Attorney General.
Investigators tested fish and found widespread mislabeling of just about every type of fish except striped bass.
I wish the figure displayed percentages instead of absolute numbers, but you get the idea. Examples:
- Lemon sole 87.5%
- Red snapper 67.0%
- “Wild” salmon 27.6% (in quotes because some was farmed)
Overall, the investigation found 27% of seafood purchases to be mislabeled. Some conclusions:
- Mislabeling was worse at some supermarkets more than others; for example, five chains had mislabeling rates of 50% or higher.
- Some fish are mislabeled more than others, especially lemon sole, red snapper, and grouper.
- Substitutes were cheaper, less desirable fish, sometimes with higher levels of mercury.
- Mislabeling was common throughout the state, but the mislabeling rate for New York City was nearly 43%.
If ever there was a call for caveat emptor, this is it.
What to do? Ask. Complain. Demand regulation.